A safe car journey often begins with adjusting the driver’s mirrors enabling him to better watch the road. However, in autocratic countries, driving rulers tend to adjust their mirrors to look at themselves rather than watching the road — a behaviour that might eventually lead to accident. Egypt, under Al-Sisi’s regime, is certainly keeping a close eye on the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities, and political Islamists at large, to avoid crashing into them, but accidents might suddenly come from another segment of society that would emerge from Al-Sisi’s blindside.
President Al-Sisi’s ruling style tends to revolve around himself. He is concerned with running a number of mega projects that will impress the world instead of focusing on driving the Egyptian car that is facing numerous challenges. The president is only concerned with having the highway completely to himself, pulling other cars off the road to enable himself to exceed the speed limit comfortably. Whereas the Egyptian state — that would be better off to warn him about road bumps or weather conditions — is working to fabricate stories about his successful journeys. Having the car moving forward in this environment does not necessarily mean that he is having a safe trip, or guarantee him a safe terminal.
On the other hand, Mubarak, who was known to be an autocratic president, was a shrewd political manipulator: he enabled his opposition, inclusive of the Muslim Brotherhood, to share the road with him, but kept a large distance between them and himself, that would prevent anyone from challenging his presidency. Mubarak was certainly talented in ‘dealing and wheeling’ with the Brotherhood; however, he was taken by surprise on the 25 January Revolution that emerged from his blindside, knocking his car off the road in less than three weeks.
Al-Sisi has a desire to be the most recognised Egyptian president when it comes to economic achievements, completely driven by running a number of mega projects which he believes will pay up shortly! He began with the Suez Canal waterway, insisted on developing new Cairo Capital City and recently decided to pursue Egypt’s first nuclear power plant for peaceful purposes. Al-Sisi does not listen to citizens who differ with him, including renowned economist supporters, and obviously he does not listen to his opponents, who are also noticing signs that should discourage him from pursuing those projects.
While Egyptians believed that corruption would substantially drop during Al-Sisi’s era, we are still facing large number of corruption stabs in different shapes. Al-Sisi is certainly not aware of each single case of corruption taking place in his era. However, he is still accountable as a president for not fighting corruption seriously, especially, when it comes to his affiliates. As it is said: “There isn’t no such thing as a free meal.” The people who continuously act as the president’s propagandists are expecting to be paid back. Obviously, this is happening at the expense of our economy, and Egyptians are gradually losing confidence in the president.
Al-Sisi, who is definitely facing more challenges than Mubarak, should better spend our resources efficiently. The president, who is working on fragmenting and criminalising his opponents, is certainly more vulnerable than Mubarak who was more talented in manipulating them. Meanwhile, the Egyptian media is certainly weakening the president’s status by only elaborating on his “achievements”.
Focusing on running a few mega projects is negatively affecting our economy at large, which is in decline. Additionally, the youths, who roughly account for two-thirds of our population, are not on the president’s radar. Their demands of modernising the Egyptian government, and applying true justice and freedom, might emerge on the president’s blindside. Al-Sisi has to expect the unexpected when it comes to Egypt, or he will probably crash, as was the case with his predecessors.
Mohammed Nosseir is an Egyptian Liberal Politician working on reforming Egypt on true liberal values, proper application of democracy and free market economy. Mohammed was member of the Higher Committee, and headed the International Relations of the Democratic Front Party from 2008 to 2012.